First it was a Rob Sich backhand on the doorstep. Then a slapshot from Nick Vandenbeld that nearly pushed the goaltender back into his net. And then finally a Sich slapshot after a feed from Vandenbeld that met the tape of his stick.
All three were quality third-period chances. All three hit a piece of Matt Anthony's equipment.
The Williamsport Outlaws were getting to the scoring areas on the ice where head coach Chris Firriolo has been wanting his team to reach, but now the manufactured chances need to result in a finished product.
CRAIG?S. MCKIBBEN JR./Sun-Gazette
Williamsport’s Rob Sich, left, checks 1000 Islands’ Brent Tamane, center as he carries the puck Friday night at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field. The Outlaws’ Martin Moucha?is at right. View more photos at cu.sungazette.com.
The quality third-period chances resulted in the best 20 minutes of hockey by the Outlaws this season, but it didn't translate into a victory and left the Outlaws still winless after a 3-2 loss to 1000 Islands on Thursday at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field.
"I thought we played a really good hockey game and thought we had 10 or 12 opportunities throughout the game where we could have capitalized and buried the puck," said Firriolo. "I think their goaltender is a good goalie for sure, but he didn't play exceptional. We just couldn't bury it and kept hitting him in the chest.
"The opportunities were there and the fact that they were there shows the progression of where we are as a hockey club."
Williamsport (0-4-1) outshot 1000 Islands 11-6 in the third period, but Corey Bellamy's goal with 12:44 remaining in the game cancelled Vandenbeld's first goal of the season with 4:22 left.
"We just couldn't catch a break" said Martin Moucha, who had an assist. "We had, including myself, two or three point-blank chances. It's a little frustrating but it's getting there."
The Outlaws pulled Chris Whitley with under a minute remaining and received a gift when 1000 Islands iced the puck with 10.6 seconds remaining, but Williamsport lost the ensuing face-off and the Privateers drove the puck around the boards and walked off the ice with their third win in three games.
Two of the Privateers' three wins have been against the Outlaws, including 7-3 on Saturday.
Williamsport went 0 for 3 on the power play in that game and entered last night 0 for 8 on the year before converting on its first chance in the teams' rematch.
Matthew Smyth ended the drought with the help of Moucha. Moucha skated behind the net, drew the defense and feathered a pass behind his back and in front of the net to Smyth who stood all alone in front and scored the Outlaws first power-play goal in five games. Smyth's third goal in three games tied the score at 1-1.
The Outlaws couldn't build any momentum after the power-play goal and allowed the Privateers to regain the lead just over a minute later when Peter Campbell scored his second goal of the season.
"In hockey the most important shift is always after you score a goal," said Firriolo. "It's a culture and a mental state. I think the guys are starting to get there."
Whitley kept William-sport in the game in the second period, making 16 of his 28 saves as they teams played a scoreless 20 minutes.
Anthony finished with 28 saves, including stoning Sich and Vandenbeld within a minute. He stopped Sich's backhand on the doorstep after he received a pass from Trevor Karasiewicz and nearly fell back into his own net after stepping away from his crease and taking a Vandenbeld shot in the chest.
Shortly after the two big stops, 1000 Islands took a 3-1 lead on Bellamy's goal with 12:44 remaining.
"There's these moments in the hockey game where we have lapses and it's those lapses that kills us" said Firriolo. "Good hockey teams will capitalize on those mistakes."
The Outlaws return to Airmen Pond tonight against Dayton still looking for win No. 1.
"I think we need, not a lucky one, but a greasy team win, like a team-building win" said Moucha, "and after that I think we'll get rolling."